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EGYPT'S MOST FAMED FAKIR 119
numerous stabs you must have received during the course of your career. How do you explain that, Doctor?"
"To achieve that, I do two things. The first is to accelerate, temporarily, the blood circulation. You know that the doctors found it rose up to 130 during the experiment the other evening. That accelerates my heart but does not over-drive it, and its rapidity does not fatigue me. Such swiftness of blood-flow naturallv helps to heal the wounds with amazing celerity. Remember I do this by mere will. The second is to raise the temperature of the blood to fever-heat. This destroys all germs which may have been introduced into the wounds and actually disinfects the latter. My wounds never suppurate, and always heal completely within a few minutes or, in more serious cases, within a few hours at most/*
I next raised the subject of his greater feat, that of being buried alive.
He threw away the remnant of a cigarette and immediately proceeded to light another.
**I need not tell you that thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, as in ancient India, the same feat was performed quite commonly/* he replied. "In those days the universal materialism which prevails to-day had scarcely begun; everyone believed in the soul and, therefore, experiences such as mine were thoroughly understood. Everyone believed then, as we fakirs do to-day, that it is the soul which mysteriously guides the life of the body and the consciousness of the mind. We believe that the soul can live apart from the body, that if the chemical atoms which compose the body return to earth in the form of carbon, potassium, hydrogen, oxygen and so on, then the soul, which is their vital force, returns to its source, the Unknown Force, which is eternal. I need hardly tell jou, further, that the danger of modern materialism is that it gives false habits of thinking which deprive men of that incalculable force, the power of the soul. So much for theory.
"In brief, I may say that by the profoundest cataleptic entrancement physical life is suspended, but the unseen spark of the soul continues, nevertheless, to function. To demonstrate this demands a long and severe training, which is usually begun at a very early age. I mentioned that my own father began to train rue when I was only four months old. Now I can allow myself to be buried for a few days, if I desire, and emerge quite unharmed."